Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in a runoff election on November 16 after failing to reach majority support in Saturday’s open primary. Edwards, a moderate Democrat, was first elected in 2015 and was facing a challenge from two Republicans, Rispone and Representative Ralph Abraham, who represents Louisiana’s fifth congressional district.
In Saturday’s “jungle primary,” Edwards received 46.6 percent of the vote, Rispone took 27.4 percent, and Abraham fell into third place at 23.6 percent. Had any candidate managed to attain at least 50 percent support, he would have won the election outright. As it is, Edwards and Rispone will face each other again next month.
The outcome tracks with the latest polls of the race, all of which showed Edwards falling below 50 percent and hovering in the mid 40 range, while several of the most recent surveys suggested Rispone had the advantage over Abraham in making it to the runoff.
Louisiana is one of three states with a gubernatorial election this fall, the other two of which are Kentucky — where incumbent Republican Matt Bevin will face Democratic attorney general Andy Beshear — and Mississippi, where Republican governor Phil Bryant is term limited, leaving an open seat.